Beng in Brazil: It's so hard to say goodbye ...
Ah Beng is a man. Ah Beng is a lone wolf.
Ah bengs don't like when ah lians are clingy. Ah bengs like clean break.
When Ah Beng says it's over, it's over.
But not this time.
Somehow, I just cannot let go. I fell in love and I don't want to say goodbye.
This is like a badbye.
One week ago, I landed in Salvador, a place where there seemed so much to complain about. It's autumn turning winter but it's hot until my backside also sweat.
When my backside sweat, you know it's seriously hot.
Then my hotel is overbooked and undersized.
Then they tell us it's not safe to go out.
And it's dangerous to take out my iPhone (the phone costs up to 5,000 reals, or almost $3,000, here!) to take pictures.
A taxi ride to the stadium means $20 to $30 gone.
That day I ate the most expensive pizza of my life. It was $50!
And a Big Mac meal costs $10.
And all the World Cup souvenirs are so bloody expensive also.
But there is just something about this place that is so attractive like an ah lian with highlighted hair, coloured contact lens and a push-up bra.
First there's the beach and ocean. Who doesn't want to live by the beach and ocean?
Then there's the stadium atmosphere and football culture. Every one here, guy or girl, young or old, supports either Bahia or Vitoria and there's a great rivalry.
And then I got 10 goals in Spain v Holland and Germany v Portugal. Sibeh wu hua (very worth it)!
But the best experience is still the warmth of the people here. Every aunty treat me like their son and every uncle treat me like their brother.
Even the police can be friendly and smile and give me the thumbs up.
Plus I just found out that my hotel receptionist Sousa and his colleague Silvio had to work extra hours to make up for the time they took off work to bring us around Nordeste de Amaralina, Rio Vermelho and Barra.
And when we left, Silvio passed me a Capoeira CD and Sousa gave me a good luck charm to tie around my wrist.
Even though Ah Bengs rather drip blood than tears, I swear I nearly cry. Damn emo, I can't even.
But we gave each other a manly hug and said tchau tchau (Portuguese for bye bye, not smelly smelly).
On the way to the airport, the radio streamed Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World, and it's like the perfect OST.
Then guess what? At the Salvador airport, I met my long-lost schoolmate and strike partner Jiaxing at the Salvador airport, who is also in Brazil to watch the World Cup with his girlfriend Sabrina and we agreed it's the most epic adventure of our lifetime.
A separation and a reunion.
And then like movie like that, I heard another power song by David Gates called Goodbye Girl:
Goodbye doesn't mean forever
Let me tell you goodbye doesn't mean
We'll never be together again
Though we may be so far apart you still
Will have my heart